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Torah and Truth: Theology in the Obituary Pages
AlbertMohler.com ^ | February 14, 2012 | Albert Mohler

Posted on 02/14/2012 2:48:15 PM PST by wmfights

Theological lessons appear in the most unexpected places. The February 12, 2012 edition of The New York Times included an obituary for Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, who died February 8 in Toronto at age 99.

The obituaries in The New York Times are legendary, rivaled only by those in The Times of London. Both papers feature unexpectedly lengthy obituaries devoted to those who made a difference in their times.

Rabbi Plaut was one of those figures. As Margalit Fox of the Times explained, the rabbi was one of the most influential figures in Reform Judaism, North American Judaism’s most liberal major branch.

As Fox stated, Rabbi Plaut was “a rabbi whose vast, scholarly and ardently contemporary edition of the Torah has helped define Reform Judaism in late-20th-century North America.”

Rabbi Plaut’s commentary on the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) was “the first non-Orthodox full commentary on the Torah published in English for congregational use,” said Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander, an official with the Union for Reform Judaism.

Previous to Rabbi Plaut’s work on the Torah, congregations had been dependent on the work of Rabbi Joseph M. Hertz, written from the perspective of Orthodox Judaism, affirming the divine inspiration of the text as given through Moses.

Reform Judaism does not require any belief in a personal God, and many adherents are agnostics or atheists in terms of traditional theism.

Rabbi Plaut wrote his commentary on the Torah for this movement and its congregations, and in the introduction to the work, he stated what he believed about the Bible:

“God is not the author of the text, the people are; but God’s voice may be heard through theirs if we listen with open minds.”

With those words, Rabbi Plaut honestly stated what he believed about the Bible, and specifically about the Torah. God is not the author of the text. The text was not divinely revealed to Moses, nor to anyone else. The Torah was the literary achievement of the Jews. God’s voice “may be heard through theirs if we listen with open minds.”

That is an amazing statement, and it may even shock some readers who are unaware of the fact that many people consider the Bible to be nothing more than a human book. In the secular academy and among liberal Bible scholars, the Old Testament is increasingly referred to as an example of “Ancient Near Eastern Literature.”

The rabbi’s statement is not merely indicative of Reform Judaism, but of the belief about the Bible held within liberal Christianity. Rabbi Plaut’s words are hauntingly reminiscent of the arguments offered by Rudolf Bultmann, the most influential liberal New Testament scholar of the twentieth century.

Here we see the great dividing line — the line that divides those who affirm the Bible as the inspired Word of God and those who see the Bible as a human product. Everything flows from where one stands with respect to this line, and no one can avoid taking a stand.

Sometimes, the most urgent issues in theology show up where you least expect. Then again, maybe the obituaries serve us well by reminding us, by their very nature, of what matters.


TOPICS: Charismatic Christian; Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion; Judaism
KEYWORDS: scripture
“God is not the author of the text, the people are; but God’s voice may be heard through theirs if we listen with open minds.”

With those words, Rabbi Plaut honestly stated what he believed about the Bible, and specifically about the Torah. God is not the author of the text. The text was not divinely revealed to Moses, nor to anyone else. The Torah was the literary achievement of the Jews. God’s voice “may be heard through theirs if we listen with open minds.”

...

The rabbi’s statement is not merely indicative of Reform Judaism, but of the belief about the Bible held within liberal Christianity. Rabbi Plaut’s words are hauntingly reminiscent of the arguments offered by Rudolf Bultmann, the most influential liberal New Testament scholar of the twentieth century.

1 posted on 02/14/2012 2:48:24 PM PST by wmfights
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To: Amityschild; Brad's Gramma; Captain Beyond; Cvengr; DvdMom; firebrand; GiovannaNicoletta; ...

Ping


2 posted on 02/14/2012 2:50:00 PM PST by wmfights
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To: wmfights

The great dividing line....indeed!!!

I pray that my Jewish friends don’t agree with this Rabbi..


3 posted on 02/14/2012 2:58:47 PM PST by Bradís Gramma (PRAY for this country like your life depends on it....)
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To: Brad's Gramma
I pray that my Jewish friends don’t agree with this Rabbi..

I have Jewish friends that do. I've shared The Gospel with them, but so far it's fallen on deaf ears.

4 posted on 02/14/2012 3:11:23 PM PST by wmfights
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To: wmfights
Here we see the great dividing line — the line that divides those who affirm the Bible as the inspired Word of God and those who see the Bible as a human product. Everything flows from where one stands with respect to this line, and no one can avoid taking a stand.

That's what I've been saying for the almost thirteen years since I first signed up at Free Republic.

And to think there are still those, including FReepers, who deny that this is the dividing line and try to find it somewhere else!

5 posted on 02/14/2012 3:27:20 PM PST by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu!)
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To: Brad's Gramma
"The rabbi’s statement is not merely indicative of Reform Judaism, but of the belief about the Bible held within liberal Christianity. Rabbi Plaut’s words are hauntingly reminiscent of the arguments offered by Rudolf Bultmann, the most influential liberal New Testament scholar of the twentieth century."

Torah and Truth: Theology in the Obituary Pages

Anything but...

"Rabbi Plaut wrote his commentary on the Torah for this movement and its congregations, and in the introduction to the work, he stated what he believed about the Bible:

“God is not the author of the text, the people are; but God’s voice may be heard through theirs if we listen with open minds.”"

“God is not the author of the text, the people are..."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Rabbi Plaut’s words are hauntingly reminiscent of the arguments offered by Rudolf Bultmann, the most influential liberal New Testament scholar of the twentieth century." "

May God be true and every man a liar! (Romans 3:4)

6 posted on 02/14/2012 3:31:35 PM PST by thouworm (.)
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To: wmfights
Reform Judaism does not require any belief in a personal God, and many adherents are agnostics or atheists in terms of traditional theism.

Soooo, Reformed Judaism is like the Jewish branch of the Unitarians?

7 posted on 02/14/2012 3:33:21 PM PST by Gamecock (I am so thankful for [the] active obedience of Christ. No hope without it. JGM)
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To: Brad's Gramma
I pray that my Jewish friends don’t agree with this Rabbi..

You did notice that this "rabbi" was Reform, didn't you?

8 posted on 02/14/2012 3:35:33 PM PST by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu!)
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To: Gamecock
Soooo, Reformed Judaism is like the Jewish branch of the Unitarians?

You didn't know that?

9 posted on 02/14/2012 3:37:20 PM PST by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu!)
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To: Zionist Conspirator

Yep... But I’ve never asked my FRiends if THEY are, too.

I just love them...cuz they’re awesome people.

Sorry if I offended anyone...that was NOT my intent.


10 posted on 02/14/2012 3:48:33 PM PST by Bradís Gramma (PRAY for this country like your life depends on it....)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
That's what I've been saying for the almost thirteen years since I first signed up at Free Republic.

And you've been right.

11 posted on 02/14/2012 3:51:26 PM PST by wmfights
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To: wmfights
And you've been right.

Thank you.

12 posted on 02/14/2012 4:11:16 PM PST by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu!)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
A couple years ago I had a very interesting conversation with a friend who teaches biology at a prestigious medical school and heads the research dept there as well. He disavows anything religious. I asked him how inorganic matter became organic and then became self replicating. He answered "we don't know".

IOW, we can puff ourselves up so much we fail to see Truth when it's right there in front of us.

13 posted on 02/14/2012 4:33:51 PM PST by wmfights
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To: wmfights

And if scientists were to bring life from dead matter, it would be in obedience to principles inherent in things and by the design of minds that preexisted that act. Man but discovers what is already here. He creates nothing but brings things together.


14 posted on 02/14/2012 11:31:49 PM PST by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: Gamecock

Actually, yes.


15 posted on 02/15/2012 2:21:29 PM PST by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's "Economics In One Lesson.")
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To: wmfights
A couple years ago I had a very interesting conversation with a friend who teaches biology at a prestigious medical school and heads the research dept there as well.

I have a BS and MS degree, heavy concentration in anatomy and physiology. Also biochemistry, pathophysiology and pharmocology. Courses were taken at both the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.

That being said, the more I peered into the inner workings of the cell, the more convinced I became that there is a God.

16 posted on 02/16/2012 9:50:50 AM PST by Gamecock (I am so thankful for [the] active obedience of Christ. No hope without it. JGM)
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To: Gamecock
That being said, the more I peered into the inner workings of the cell, the more convinced I became that there is a God.

Amen Brother!

Rom. 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen,...

I'm still good friends with this man and we talk periodically about God. He refuses to believe, but unlike most unbelievers he is honest about the shortcomings of science to answer the really big questions. I have hope he will hear The Gospel one of these times.

17 posted on 02/16/2012 2:59:14 PM PST by wmfights
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To: wmfights
RC Sproul relates an exchange between Carl Sagan and himself. He asked Carl what happened a millisecond before the Big Bang. Sagan responded "That is not important."
From a post by me in 2004
18 posted on 02/16/2012 5:59:05 PM PST by Gamecock (I am so thankful for [the] active obedience of Christ. No hope without it. JGM)
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To: wmfights

Excellent. Thank you so very much.


19 posted on 02/18/2012 9:29:21 AM PST by Joya (http://www.raptureready.com/)
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